Author's note: I do not own Final Fantasy VIII or its characters. This is for the 30 Kisses challenge using list iota. This is set after the game and is slightly AU. Theme 15: Kama Sutra. This has some citrus towards the end. Please don't read if that offends you. A special thank you to everyone who has reviewed this story. I deeply appreciate your support.
Shelter From the Storm
Seifer let out a sigh as he checked the sky. The storm was going to be a bad one. He had better get to work now if he wanted everything taken care of before it hit. Thankfully, he had already warned the three fishing villages in the area. In the three years since the Sorceress War, he had taken up the post of lighthouse keeper on a stretch of Centra's coast. It wasn't easy, but Seifer had been able to make a new start here, and things had been going well. The only bad thing about the job was the isolation. It was at least a few hours' sail to the nearest village, and he was the only one in the lighthouse. Fuujin and Raijin stopped by from time to time, but for the most part he was on his own.
He spent his morning making sure his boat was securely moored and that all the windows and everything else outside was ready for the storm. Seifer had supplies enough that if he was stuck here he'd be fine for at least two weeks. While the fishing villages could be reached by land, the terrain was a mess and it took twice as long as by boat. He had plenty of fuel for the light, and barring a major emergency he would be able to hole up inside for the duration of the storm.
Midday saw the start of the rain. It wasn't bad yet, but Seifer was glad that all of the outside work was done. He put soup on the stove to heat up and set about making sure everything inside was set. If the wind got too bad, he might lose the main power. There was a generator, but it made sense to have candles and lamps on every floor of the lighthouse. You never knew where you were going to be when the power went out. The wind began to pick up outside. Seifer was checking the oil level in the lamp when he heard a faint rapping noise. With a frown, he headed downstairs. What on Gaia could that be? No one in their right mind would be out today. At least, none of the locals.
The rapping got louder as he got downstairs. Seifer yanked open the door to find a bedraggled and soaked to the skin Quistis Trepe. She looked like a drowned rat.
"Get in here before you drown." He grabbed her wrist, pulling her inside. "Stay right there. I'll get you a towel and something to change into."
Quistis nodded, dazed and shivering. It didn't take him long to gather up a pair of sweats and t-shirt for her to change into and collect a towel from the bathroom. Quistis took them gratefully.
"I'm going to go into the kitchen, so you can get out of your wet things. Call me when you're done."
He busied himself putting on a kettle for hot water and fixing them both a mug of soup. What was Quistis doing here? She had been surprised to see him, so she couldn't have been here to visit him, and the woman should have more common sense than to be out in this weather.
Seifer brought the mugs of soup with him as he came back into the main room. Quistis' wet things were wrapped up in the towel, and she had managed to get her hair into some semblance of a braid. His clothes were rather baggy on her smaller form making her seem young and rather vulnerable. She gave him a weak smile.
"Thank you, Seifer."
"No problem. Here, this should help warm you up." He handed her one of the mugs and gesture for her to take a seat by the little fire. "What are you doing here?"
"I," she bit her lip, "I needed some place safe to sit out the storm."
"But why, Quisty? I sort of doubt that you're just wandering around Centra for fun." He sipped his soup.
Quistis looked away. "You're right. I'm, I mean, I was here with a team on a mission. We finished it up last night."
"So where's everyone else?" It wasn't like her to leave her team behind.
"They're holed up in some caves about an hour's hike away. They'll be fine."
Seifer frowned. She was avoiding the subject. Something was wrong here.
She flushed and finally met his eyes. "The rest of my team is older male SeeDs. Most of them are transfers from Galbadia. They had some expectations of me that I was not willing to fulfill. And after I told them I wasn't about to recreate their favorite positions from the Kama Sutra, I didn't feel comfortable spending the night there."
His eyes narrowed. Quistis was perfectly able to take care of herself under most circumstances. The fact that she actually admitted she felt uncomfortable said far more about the way she had been treated than what she had actually said.
"You're welcome to stay here as long as you need to, Quisty. The quarters will be a little tight, but it's not a problem. Last storm, I got stuck with three fishermen whose boat had run aground." Seifer smirked. "You're much better company."
That prompted a smile. Quistis let out a soft sigh. "Thank you, Seifer. So, how are you? I haven't seen much of you since the trial. Matron said you were doing well, but it would be nice to know what you've been up to."
"Let me just finish up the storm preparations. Once that's done, we can talk." He noticed her shiver. "I'll get you a blanket too. There's also more soup in the kitchen, and the water should just about be ready for tea."
When he returned, he found Quistis curled up on the floor in front of the fire. Her fingers were wrapped around a mug that smelled strongly of peppermint.
"Here." Seifer draped the blanket around her shoulders before settling next to her. "Feeling warmer?"
"Yes. Thank you."
Deciding to fill the rather awkward silence that followed that, Seifer began to recount the events that had brought him to this lighthouse and some of the adventures he'd had as its keeper. Quistis began to relax, and he even had her in stitches with his account of the great herring disaster. In turn, Quistis filled him in on some of the more amusing events back at Garden. He would have paid money to see Chicken Wuss in drag.
When her stomach started rumbling, Quistis turned a lovely shade of pink. Seifer just laughed.
"I'd say it's dinnertime. How do you feel about fish?"
"What are my other options?" Her smile was teasing.
"Well, there's also fish, and then there's fish. If you're really desperate, I think there's some shrimp in the freezer."
She just laughed. "I guess I have to go with fish then."
Quistis followed him into the kitchen, and actually proved quite helpful in preparing the meal. She set his table for the two of them as he fried their fish. Seifer found himself mildly surprised at how comfortable this was. Other than his and Matron's trials, he'd had very little contact with Quistis outside of a classroom. She seemed much more relaxed and human here than she ever had in the classroom.
She offered to wash the dishes for him. Seifer let her as it was one of his least favorite chores. He saw to banking the fire. The wind outside was howling now, and he couldn't see past the sheets of rain. It was definitely the worst storm of the season. He frowned. At this rate, they might be stuck here for a few days even after the storm ended. Still, it was rather cozy in the lighthouse. He could hear Quistis humming to herself in the kitchen, and Seifer couldn't help but think how nice it was to have another person here.
Then the lights went out. Quistis shrieked. It took him a few minutes to find the matches and get a lamp and some candles lit.
"Quisty? You okay?"
"Seifer? I think I'm fine. I just can't see anything."
He brought the lamp in the kitchen. "You can just leave the rest of those for morning. I need to check the lamp and get the rest of the lanterns I have lit. Do you want to stay down here or come with me?"
"I'll come with you if you don't mind."
It didn't take that long to get everything taken care of, and Seifer was ready to call it a night. However, that brought up the one problem with letting Quistis stay.
"So, my bedroom is on the second floor. I just need to get a few things, and then it's all yours."
Quistis froze. "I'm not kicking you out of your bed. I can sleep in the chair or on the floor downstairs."
"No way, Quisty. You're not sleeping on the floor. Matron would kill me."
They stood glaring at each other for a minute. Seifer sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "We could share the bed."
It actually wasn't as awkward as it sounded. His bed was thankfully big enough for two, and there were plenty of blankets. They went to sleep on opposite sides of the bed. Seifer would admit when he woke the next morning with Quistis snuggled up against him that it was actually kind of nice. He could still hear the rain beating at the lighthouse, and Seifer resisted the urge to simply go back to sleep. He needed to check the lamp and the little fire that served as the main heat source for the lighthouse. Then he could go back to bed.
He restarted the fire and made sure the lamp was still burning bright before heading back to bed. Seifer slid under the covers, and Quistis almost immediately snuggled up to him. He looked down at her sleeping face. What was it about this woman? He would admit that most of his taunting of her in the past was akin to the little boy pulling the braids of the girl he liked. After the war, she had been one of the few people at Garden to accept that he wasn't entirely responsible for his actions during the war. At the orphanage they had been closer to each other than any of the other children, and now he almost found himself wishing that she would stay. With that on his mind, Seifer drifted back to sleep.
When he woke again, Seifer found he had an arm draped around Quistis' waist and a pair of sleepy blue eyes peering up at him.
"Morning, Quisty." And then on impulse, he leaned in and kissed her.
It was a brief kiss, but it lingered between them. However, he didn't seem to have ruined everything as Quistis smiled up at him.
"Is the storm going?" she asked.
"It is. I won't really have anything to do until it stops."
"Does that mean we can just stay in bed?" Quistis' smile grew. "I haven't been able to sleep in for ages."
"By all means then, stay in bed. I'm going in search of breakfast."
"You do that." Quistis snuggled deeper into the covers.
He was almost out the door when she called. "Oh, and I'd love a cup of tea."
Seifer just laughed. He puttered around his kitchen, finishing washing the dishes from last night and seeing what there was to eat for breakfast. He finally settled on pancakes and bacon. As the smell of the cooking food began to fill the lighthouse, Quistis appeared in the kitchen doorway. He grinned.
"Want to set the table? This should be ready in a few more minutes."
Quistis shot him a smile and stole a piece of bacon. Seifer found it very natural to be sharing his morning with her. After they had eaten and cleaned up, the pair settled in front of the fire in the living room. Seifer with the lighthouse keeper's log to update, and Quistis with a book she had found on one of his shelves. The rain began to die down in the early afternoon though the wind was still howling. Seifer sighed. He was going to have to go out and see if there was any damage soon. Unless the wind calmed down, he wasn't going to be going any where, but he could at least get a start on the repairs he could do without help.
Once the seas had calmed down enough, he would need to check in with the local fishing villages. Hopefully, no had been foolish enough to try and brave the storm. He'd help out with any search and rescue, but Seifer doubted anyone could have survived that gale.
"Thank you for letting me stay here."
He smiled. "No problem. I've enjoyed having the company."
And he was. Seifer didn't know if it was the fact that he hadn't spent this much time with people recently or if it was just Quistis herself, but this was nice. Quistis even opted to join him when he went outside to take a look around and see if there was any damage. He had been lucky. The power outage could be fixed by simply reattaching the lines. There was some minor damage to the dock, but he could have that repaired in an afternoon or so. He'd lost some shingles from the roof as well.
"How long will all this take to fix?" Quistis asked as they headed back inside. Dusk was falling, so any repairs would have to wait until tomorrow.
"If you want to help, we can have it all done tomorrow. What? Eager to get back to Garden?"
To his surprise, she blushed and looked away. The subject was dropped, and their normal comfortable relationship resumed. The evening shared the same pattern as the night before, and Seifer woke the next morning once again in a good mood. Quistis had once again snuggled up to him in the middle of the night. He liked waking up to her sleeping face. After breakfast, Quistis offered to give him a hand with the repairs.
They spent most of the morning working on the roof. Quistis proved to be rather helpful. Seifer hadn't though that they taught roof repair at Garden. When he asked, however, Quistis just laughed.
"You'd be surprised what you learn on some of the intelligence gathering missions. Besides, unlike some SeeDs I know, I believe in pulling my weight."
There was some bitterness in her voice. Seifer raised an eyebrow.
"Not enjoying life at Garden?"
Quistis sighed. "I'm just really sick of working with idiots."
Taking a break for lunch, Seifer couldn't help but wonder if Quistis might want to stay here. He was more than a little shocked to realize that he would rather like that. The pair tackled the dock after eating. It took most of the afternoon and early evening. By the time they were finished, the sun had set, and they were both exhausted.
"You can have the shower first," he offered. "I get dinner started."
Fifteen minutes later, Quistis reappeared wrapped in a towel. "Shower's free."
He had a hard time tearing his gaze away from the rather enticing picture she made. "Thanks."
When he finished with his shower, Seifer found her once again dressed in his sweats. Quistis looked up from the salad she was fixing.
"Hey. It shouldn't be much longer."
"Great. I'm starving." He hesitated before offering, "I think there's some chocolate ice cream in the back of the freezer."
Her eyes lit up. "Really?"
Later, Seifer watched as she practically devoured her dish of ice cream. Apparently, Quistis was very fond of chocolate. With a sigh, she licked the spoon clean.
"You missed a spot."
"Where?" Her tongue flicked out to catch it.
"On your right cheek."
She couldn't quite reach it. Seifer found himself leaning in and licking the offending spot of chocolate off her skin. The next thing he knew he was kissing her. His tongue slipped into her mouth taste chocolate and honey from her tea. Quistis kissed back fiercely, her fingers sliding into his hair. Seifer pulled her into his lap, one hand slipping beneath her shirt. Seifer really wasn't aware of anything other than Quistis. Everything else was simply a jumble of motion.
They must have made it upstairs though as they were tumbling into bed. He had lost his shirt somewhere along the way while Quistis was now clad only in her panties. Hovering above her, Seifer dusted kisses across her collar bones before venturing lower. He palmed one of her breasts as his mouth closed over the nipple of the other. Quistis made soft sounds in the back of her throat. She pushed up against him, slipping her hand into his pants. Seifer kissed her mouth again.
"Off," she panted when he released her lips, tugging at his pants.
Seifer was happy to oblige. He quickly divested himself of his pants and his boxes only to find himself being flipped over onto his back. Quistis sat astride him with a teasing grin, her long hair obscuring much of his view. Seifer caught one of her hands in his own, pressing a kiss to her palm.
Her grin simply grew wider, and she rocked forward against him. One of her hands wrapped around his shaft, guiding him into her. Seifer let out a moan. His hands moved to play with her breasts as she began to rock up and down. Quistis felt so warm and tight, and the look on her face was breathtaking. He doubted he could last much longer. Seifer slipped one hand in between them and began to finger her clit even as she sped up their rhythm. She gasped as he put just a little more pressure on it, her muscles quivering around him, and Seifer let go.
Afterwards, he cuddled her close feeling relaxed and content. Quistis pressed a kiss to his neck, and he held her a little closer. Neither of them spoke, but it wasn't an awkward silence. In a warm cocoon of blankets, they drifted off to sleep together.
Seifer was reluctant to leave the comfort of his bed and Quistis' arms the next morning, but he could hear the sound of a ship's bell. He had visitors. He slid out of bed, careful not to disturb the sleeping woman beside him and kissed her forehead. He dressed quickly and headed out to see who was paying him a visit.
The boat was from the nearest fishing village. They had wanted to check on him after the storm. They were also looking for Quistis. The rest of her team had made it to the village about a day after the storm had ended. Seifer sighed. It looked like their time here was at an end. He didn't want to go wake Quistis up, but he knew he needed to. Leaving the fishermen to unload the supplies they had brought, he headed back inside.
Quistis was still curled up in his bed, the cover pulled tight around her. Seifer leaned in and kissed her before gently shaking her.
"Quisty. Come on, Quisty. You need to get up."
She let out a sleepy little moan and opened her eyes. A smile flit across her face, and Quistis pulled him down for another kiss. "Good morning."
He sighed. "Good morning, Quisty. We have visitors."
"Visitors?" She frowned. "My team?"
"Not exactly. Fishermen from the nearest village. Your team made it there after the storm."
She looked downcast and sad, and all Seifer wanted to do was make that expression go away.
"I could tell them you're not here if you want."
"No." It was her turn to sigh. "I'll be down in a few minutes."
Seifer turned to go.
He looked back at her. Quistis offered him a shy smile.
"These past few days have been the best time I've had in years."
Twenty minutes later she joined him out on the docks wearing the same outfit she'd shown up on his doorstep in. She didn't seem that happy to be leaving. Quistis lingered, wasting time. She thanked him yet again for his hospitality and kissed him. Then she bit her lip and quietly asked:
"Would you mind if I came back here sometime?"
Seifer smirked and leaned into kiss her. "You're welcome anytime, Quistis."
Three months later, Seifer stood on his dock and watched as his girlfriend waved from the bow of the approaching boat. Since moving her permanently just two months ago, Quistis had offered to help out at the schools in the local fishing villages. As the boat pulled up to the dock, she swung over the side to give him a hand mooring the sailboat.
"We should be set for the month," Quistis grinned. "It won't take too long unload."
"Good. Was my package in?"
She pulled a small box out of her pocket. "This?"
"That's it." Seifer smirked. "Why don't you open it? It is for you after all."
Quistis raised an eyebrow but eagerly tore into the little package. When she paused, he knew she had seen it.
"For me?" Her voice was soft.
"If you want it." He smiled.
The delicate gold and pearl ring was slipped on her left hand before she grabbed his jacket's lapels and pulled him down for a kiss. Seifer would take that as a yes.